Born on the Fourth of July
It is unfortunate that few bother to read the Declaration of Independence.
For those with an interest in the origin of the country that is America and the creation of this seminal document, adopted on July 2, 1776 and signed by those who had the awesome courage to pledge lives, fortunes, and sacred honor, its reading can be a rewarding and fulfilling act even if only practiced once a year on our nations’ birthday. Reading the text of the ancient document itself, one can derive a better sense of appreciation for the objectives of the signatories to the declaration. Richly worded, articulately crafted text is so much more evocative than the smoke and din that is the foolishness of firecrackers all employed to celebrate such a momentous and historic milestone. Moreover, the feeble light of the most prodigious fireworks display, lately used to punctuate and otherwise shatter the solace of what should be a more somber event, does little justice to the true impact of a “rocket’s red glare”. A pompous pyrotechnics display can only lightly replicate what must have been the riveting effect of the real thing. The lame, contemporary, commercial, firecracker-echo of “bombs bursting in air” might be insulting to those in thrall if only the lightness and absurdity of that sort of celebration had the touchstone of reality-sober footnotes of war-torn history-
with which to assay itself.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident. That all men are created equal…”
If there were two ‘shots heard ‘round the world’: One we all know as emanating from Lexington/Concord, and the other yet-to-be acknowledged, I would nominate that the second be the aforementioned Declaration of Independence quote regarding “equality”. Revered, and justifiably so, the quote is a conceptual “holy grail” that does, and will forever, elude the grasp of any who have the temerity to engage its pursuit. There, embodied in a singular, preamble; a most quotable quote, might be the classic example of: ‘A spate of facts (which begins) from a false premise (and leads) to a false conclusion’.
If one were to use the more contemporary vernacular, which suggests that creation and life “begin(s) at conception” a lively debate about “equality” might itself be conceived. Accepting that definition of creation as a valid premise, it might be posited that if “equality” ever did exist, it might have been incarnate only at that particular instant of “conception”, but surely would cease the very nanosecond after. The War of Independence, which followed the hallowed declaration, itself could be characterized as a struggle for superiority and not “equality”: Victory is to the superior force not to the balance that is “equality”.
“More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of…”- Tennyson Morte d’Arthur
Legal fictions are, by-and-large, counter-intuitive. The process of legislation weaves the most basic of legal fictions into the warp and woof of the fabric of law. The simple phrase “created equal”, which was probably intended to evoke a communal reaction to the oppressive, caste-conscious, English society and its overbearing government has gone on to spawn generations of successive declarations and rules and judicial decisions and legal opinions many espousing profound and wide-ranging variations on the “equality” theme sparely described in our Declaration of Independence. Were they to read these later iterations of “equality” vis-à-vis the intent of the declaration, scriveners of the original document might hardly recognize the wide-ranging, latter-day interpretations of their text.
“…what fools these mortals be”- Shakespeare Midsummer Nights Dream
Most biophysicists/bioethesists, will tell us that, in Nature, the prospect of “equality” is so remote as to have literally no mathematical likelihood of existence at all. Consider the ephemeral snowflake, each different from successive, shimmering, siblings. Yet, through wonders born of democratic assemblies, humans continuously presume to create and then mandate something unattainable in Nature: Innate equality by law.
Moreover, we are not unlimbered ourselves as a society, of the irresoluble premise that each of us, no matter how tall or how smart or how endowed or how bedraggled with woe, or how blond or how fleet-of-foot is not, nor can we be, the perfect equal of our brother and sister. We humans, by way of the mighty pen of legislators, would seem to assume an ability to accomplish that which Mother Nature was perfectly unable when she imagined the essential zygote. The very possibility of chromosomal equality is widely debated by geneticists.
“(it) is not the triumph but the struggle…”- Pierre de Coubertin, Olympic motto
With little exception, each and every device and artifice that is the creation of the human mind is contrived such that it’s design can improve/excel performance or even “game” a system. Whether it is competitive sports, or the ubiquitous fashion statement or the synthetic investment instrument, or a new, better, faster, stronger, “whatever”, or the ever-present, pedestrian jostle for “pole-position” in what looks to be the shortest, quickest, check-out line at the local supermarket, it could be easily argued that human elbows were designed to be the corporeal fulcrum, at the point of which is enabled an individual’s progress. Progress is often the end-result of competition. The purest form of competition is in the stark evidence of disparity, not equality.
Each human is hard-wired to succeed, whether it is to accumulate the most basic, needed, sustenance to survive, or sybaritic engagement in the more Corinthian pursuits: Many times, all to the detriment and sometimes to the very demise of our “brethren”. No avidly watched soccer game, no beauty pageant, no SAT test, no “baby’s first photo album”, no hairdresser day-spa even softly trumpets the premise of “equality”.
“Tell me where is fancy bred, Or in the heart, or in the head?”- Shakespeare The Merchant of Venice
Common sense tells us in the quiet solitude of our souls that certain things are truly “self evident”. It is, however, the artificial mandate of man-made rules that tugs at our consciences and tears at the wings of the “better angels of our nature”. We rend our better judgment and innate instincts as we trudge towards the counterintuitive that is resignation to that common denominator, which is total and complete “equality” with any other person. In legal terms “equality” is a quest attainable, but in real life…an it is an imperfect Utopia attained only by legislative fiat.
Posted 4th July 2013 by DILULIUS, King of Troy
Posted 1 minute ago by DILULIUS, King of Troy